Downloadable Software Applications (DSAs)


A Downloadable Software Application (DSA) is software a user installs on their computer, such as a toolbar or a plug-in. This application could help earn users points or rewards from loyalty sites, provide them with promotions and coupons, allow them to donate to charity, or perform other actions. They often work toward increasing publisher sales.

While we strive to make it easy for publishers to create innovative tools and applications, we have specific guidelines on how these tools are implemented and used. All DSAs must conform to Rakuten Advertising's Guidelines and be tested and approved by us. Then any participating advertisers must approve your DSA in their program. 


It is your responsibility as a publisher to notify us and obtain approval for your DSA.


DSAs are reviewed by our Network Quality team to ensure that our standards are met. Each DSA is retested monthly to ensure that these high standards are kept. We expect your DSA to:

  • Be easy to install and uninstall.
  • Have equally sized and easy to locate opt-in and opt-out elections.
  • Not significantly change the online experience for the end user.
  • Be free of bugs.
  • Not automatically drop cookies or overwrite other publisher cookies.
  • Stand down when it recognizes
    • linksynergy.
    • afscr=1.
    • Publisher links.
  • Include an end-user license agreement (EULA).

Approval Process

There are two steps to the DSA approval process; click + to see more information:

Step 1: Notify Rakuten for Testing and Approval

Send an email requesting a review with the below information to This review can take up to two weeks if no issues are encountered. 

  1. Publisher name
  2. Site ID (SID)
  3. Website URL
  4. DSA name and Version Numbers
  5. Download the URL for your software
  6. DSA is compatible-browsers
  7. Operating systems (Windows, Mac OS)
  8. Does your software activate and overwrite, meaning your Rakuten Affiliate cookie is placed on the following? Yes or no 
    • Paid Search
    • Rakuten Advertising Links,  linksynergy or Afsrc
    • Organic Listings
    • Direct Type In
    • Email
  9. A detailed description of the expected behavior of your DSA. Include details of click action and screenshots of the software in use.
  10. How does the user opt-out? Provide a detailed description of the new behavior.
  11. The distribution method for your software including all third parties distributing your tool. Include specific URLs and provide a complete list of third parties.
  12. Benefits to the end-user
  13. How easily and quickly the DSA can be updated if needed
  14. A copy of the DSA software with 10 to 15 Rakuten Advertising advertiser feeds. These are temporary and for testing purposes only. Keep in mind the software must not be publicly available to download until approved.
  15. A list of Rakuten Advertising advertisers included in the DSA launch
  16. Provide technical details of your software:
    • Pop-up injection name: iframe or shadow root
    • DOM ID for the iframe or base shadow root
    • Xpath for the close button
    • DOM ID for the SERP for each SEO page: Google, Bing, Yahoo
    • The XPath for the coupon activation button
    • Log-in is required to activate coupons or offers, yes or no
    • Log-in form input fields: XPath for username, password, submit button, and any additional input fields.


If you make changes to your DSA after it has been approved, you must notify us as we will need to retest it.

Step 2: Request Advertiser Approval

Once approved by us, contact your advertisers and ask permission to use this new distribution method with their program.

As our policies state, we do not allow the auto-redirection of natural advertiser traffic and paid traffic unless you have specific documented permission from each individual advertiser. Your DSA should become inactive on the sites of any advertisers who opt out or who do not want you to redirect their traffic. Publishers who fail to comply with this rule will jeopardize their relationship with advertisers and with Rakuten Advertising.

Update your Channel Details

Add your DSA information to your marketing channel details page in the dashboard once you have secured advertiser permission:

  1. Go to Account and navigate to the Channels tab.
  2. Access the channel’s details page by clicking on its name or by clicking on the 3-dot menu and selecting View details.
  3. In the Downloadable Software Applications section, select Yes and enter your DSA information.
  4. Click Save.

The reviewed status indicates whether your DSA has been approved. You must follow the above steps to get approval before entering your DSA information in the dashboard.

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